Q's cue aces Natalie Madden and Lee Clough back in the frame for pool glory

BAPTO pool champions Natalie Madden and Lee Clough
BAPTO pool champions Natalie Madden and Lee Clough

Pool players are experts on breaks and a 10-year one worked a treat for Blackpool ace Natalie Madden.

Pool players are experts on breaks and a 10-year one worked a treat for Blackpool ace Natalie Madden.

After a decade away from the game to raise daughter Jessica, the 34-year-old has come back to pocket some of the sport’s biggest prizes.

Since returning to the tables competitively in September last year, Madden has taken British and European titles.

And she increased her collection of pool’s most prestigious prizes on home soil this month with a double triumph at the 42nd BAPTO event at Norbreck Castle.

The BAPTO is the UK’s longest-established amateur pool tournament and Natalie retained her women’s singles title at this England eight-ball spectacular, while also winning the mixed doubles with fellow Blackpool player Lee Clough.

Their success was also a triumph for Q’s Snooker Club in Blackpool.

Both players are members of the Lytham Road club, which provides them with much-appreciated sponsorship.

Natalie told The Gazette: “It has gone really well since I came back. I think the rule changes really suit an attacker player like myself and the BAPTO is up there with the biggest titles I’ve won.

“I’ve known Lee since we were kids. Like myself, he took a break from the game and has come back at the right time.

“He’s prolific and started winning tournaments again straight away.”

This week Natalie heads to Bridlington, Yorkshire, to represent Northern Ireland at the Blackball International World Championships and she thanked Q’s for all their support.

“The sponsorship is very helpful to Lee and myself and Q’s are always really accommodating whenever we want to practise.”

Q’s co-owner Daniel Thompson said: “Natalie and Lee have both done amazingly well.

“The BAPTO is a massive international event and we’re delighted to help them in any way we can.

“Both players are amateurs – Natalie works for the council and Lee is a taxi drive – so it isn’t easy to find the facilities and funds they need to compete at their best. We’re proud to be able to help them.”

Although Lee and Natalie have jobs away from the game, both have enjoyed plenty of success on the IPA professional tour – Lee is a former 8-Ball Masters champion on the pro circuit.